Another day, another conservative attack on the meaning of higher education in Wisconsin.

The conservative think tank Wisconsin Policy Research Institute recently spit out a report, claiming to have their mitts on the golden ticket to a better University of Wisconsin System.

Given this group’s obvious political leanings and the burgeoning cost of college, it’s not too surprising this report focuses a lot of energy on the fact that more time enrolled in college has that troublesome habit of equating to more college debt accrued.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a less expensive higher education, and I think it’s safe to say that my bank account and the bank accounts of other students would agree.

The problem with the WPRI’s grand scheme to cut down the time required to complete an undergraduate degree at one of the UW System schools is that they just don’t really seem to understand the ultimate purpose of a university level education.

This “re-imagining UW” plan claims that the best way to go about creating a faster — the jury’s still out on better — college experience is to say “adios” to graduate programs, academic research and sports along with a few other things.

Imagine in 50 years after this plan takes hold, strictly undergraduate students here at the once innovative, now technologically stagnant UW will gaze in wonder at the variety of ancient hieroglyphs depicting a large-headed, striped-sweater-wearing white and black figure and ponder the mystery of “what is a Bucky?” The Wisconsin higher education system has been left in the dust while the rest of the world steams ahead.

Bleak, isn’t it?

You cannot tell me that ditching these apparently “unnecessary” components of the college experience is the best way to make college more affordable.

First of all, it’s not too much of a mystery that university research is vital to the advancement of society. But, I suppose the UW System could probably do without it.

They would probably do away with sports too. Where this beef with intercollegiate sports comes from I don’t know, but apparently the roughly $123 million in revenue good old Bucky brought in for UW during 2015 just isn’t worth keeping around anymore. But, I guess the WPRI might have a point — Saturdays at Camp Randall definitely haven’t helped me get any closer to graduation.

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Another thing just a little off with this proposal is the fact that students who intended on majoring in humanities would be gently nudged into something a little more STEM, otherwise know as a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field.

As much as I like the numbers and white-bread life of an engineering major, I have to say that steering or in this case pushing people into fields of study with “higher payout” ratings doesn’t sound like such a good idea, because at the end of the day, every major has its importance in society. Yes, even the humanities, WPRI.

College, especially paying for college, can suck. The fact of the matter is that yes, a four year university education isn’t the right fit for everyone. But the idea of taking away these apparently unnecessary components of a university education in the WPRI’s new higher education plan is not fair to those who currently find college to be the right fit.

Don’t step on my education to boost someone else’s.

Phil Michaelson ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.